Augusta protest rules might need fresh look, sheriff says

Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 4:13 PM
Last updated Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 11:41 AM
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Augusta hasn’t had a protest ordinance since 2004, when an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled it unconstitutional after National Council of Women's Organizations head Martha Burk was forbidden to demonstrate outside the gates of the Augusta National Golf Club.

It might be time to revisit the issue, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said today.

Questions of rules and fairness are coming up again with the “concerned citizens of Harrisburg” staging protests in neighborhoods and along Wheeler Road, and they’re crying foul over the way they were treated by police Wednesday when they picketed a landlord’s residence in upscale Forrest Hills.

“We can’t get crack houses out of Harrisburg,” organizer Lori Davis said Thursday, “but they can get us off the Hill quickly.”

Sheriff Strength said he stands by the actions of Deputy Jesse Jackson, who told the protesters they were creating a traffic hazard and had to move.

“We could not allow anyone to picket in a street, because of a safety issue,” the sheriff said. “We’re charged with safety. Picketing we don’t mind. That’s their constitutional right.”

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Riverman1
89990
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Riverman1 09/10/09 - 03:27 pm
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Well, just figure it out so

Well, just figure it out so these people can have their protests and stop trying to stop them. Common sense time here.

Just My Opinion
6064
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Just My Opinion 09/10/09 - 03:30 pm
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Now, I was not there, but I'm

Now, I was not there, but I'm thinking that Sheriff Strength is just standing behind one of his deputies who just came up with a way to get rid of these protestors. No way that these folks were disorderly...in fact, it sounds as if they were very much aware of the law as told to them by the sheriff's department. I love the comment by Lori Davis and she just hit the nail right on the head! In this case, I think Sheriff Strength, who I admire greatly, has egg on his face and has to do some backpedaling here. I sure hope this is NOT a case of him being told what to do by some people with power or money.

spdermn78
4
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spdermn78 09/10/09 - 03:41 pm
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Read the article Just my

Read the article Just my Opinion. They were never described as disorderly... just a traffic hazard. All it wouldve taken was for one of those "TREE HUGGERS" to get hit in the street and they wouldve tried to sue the sheriff's department for not controlling the traffic. I am glad they are trying to clean up Harrisburg. God knows it needs to change there. However why would you pickett a mans home and scare his family. I am sure the landlord has an office or some more prominent businesses they could protest in front of. Common sense people.

Riverman1
89990
Points
Riverman1 09/10/09 - 03:53 pm
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These people had a right to

These people had a right to protest and if bringing it home to the slumlord is more effective, more power to them. The only reason given for their removal was that cars legally parked in a residential neighborhood were slowing traffic down. That may have been the case, but there are cars parked on that road everyday that slow traffic down. The RCSO has a duty to ensure these people can protest. I think the protestors should return with 10 times as many people. Have busses drop them off if the only reason to stop them is because of parking. The Sheriff did say this:"Picketing we don’t mind. That’s their constitutional right.”

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 09/10/09 - 03:57 pm
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0
They are extremely lucky not

They are extremely lucky not to get arrested. Normally, you can't even politely ask a neighbor to turn down their music at their outdoor party going on from dusk to midnight, then continuing the carousing until 4am the next morning, without being falsely accused of being the problem instead of someone simply trying to get some sleep in her own home, a house in a subdivision!

corgimom
36394
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corgimom 09/10/09 - 06:32 pm
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So if they can't picket on

So if they can't picket on private property, and if they can't picket on the road, they can picket....where? And how is it that someone can have a huge party with lots of cars parked in the road, and people walking up and down the road- but that's ok and not a traffic hazard?

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 09/10/09 - 06:46 pm
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All of us have a right to our

All of us have a right to our opinion but at least have a clue as to what happend if commenting. The Harrisburg Protestors were merely asked to not be in the roadway and/or parking in the road in front of the house. They were told they could picket in the triangle median area which was basically in the same area but wasn't a safety issue. The RCSO Deputy did his job well to ensure the safety of those protesting, those driving in the neighborhood as well as the right to protest were all taken care of. Furthermore, the Sheriff's Office has assisted in previous marches, even providing security and making arrests/issuing citations as needed. The understaffed department has stepped up patorls and have worked with those in the neighborhood in an effort to make it better through enforcement policies and as many other articles has reported, responded to numerous calls for assistance within the neighborhood. The RCSO did ensure these people were given their right to protest and you can easily read this in the article from yesterday. As for the Sheriff backing his deputy, of course he is because the deputy was doing him job well just as the Sheriff has fired many for doing it wrong.

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 09/10/09 - 07:02 pm
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0
You are wrong Asitis. These

You are wrong Asitis. These people were told only to stay off private property and not block traffic. Period. The actual area of the protest was not chosen until the night before the event and law enforcement was neither notified nor asked to be notified. Nor were they ever contacted about this triangle of land site.
This is a blatant attempt by the influential to shut down the little guy who has legitimate grievances.
Can anyone say"Good ole boy politics"

Riverman1
89990
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Riverman1 09/10/09 - 07:13 pm
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I reread the article. You are

I reread the article. You are wrong, Asitisinaug. There was never an agreement that they stay in the triangle. In addition, the officer who came demanded to see a permit when there is no such thing. It sounds pretty obvious the intent was to run the protestors away. The Sheriff is now on the spot to ensure the protestors can exercise their rights.

CorporalGripweed
0
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CorporalGripweed 09/10/09 - 07:33 pm
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It's a shame that you can't

It's a shame that you can't even get a chance to ask a landlord to shut down a nuisance property after months of attempts, but you can shut down a legal protest in 20 mins.CYA on high...hmmm?

nofrills
0
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nofrills 09/10/09 - 07:49 pm
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Another black eye for Ronnie

Another black eye for Ronnie and his henchmen

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 09/10/09 - 08:23 pm
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I still think the Harrisburg

I still think the Harrisburg people are protesting the wrong people, and this goes to prove my point. Direct all pickets to 401 Walton Way.

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 09/10/09 - 08:52 pm
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The owners of the properties

The owners of the properties are ultimately responsible.. they allow the activity to continue. They know about it and do nothing about it. That is negligence. They should be held accountable.

humbleopinion
0
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humbleopinion 09/10/09 - 09:09 pm
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Hillguy YOU are wrong. As

Hillguy YOU are wrong. As long as the tenant is paying the rent on time and there have been NO arrests at the property there is little the landlord can do. Tenants have MORE rights than landlords in this and every state. Just try to evict a tenant on the grounds of "the neighbors are unhappy" and the landlord would be sued quickly. I have been a residential landlord before and I'll NEVER do it again. Commercial property only from now on.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 09/10/09 - 09:32 pm
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Riverman1, you can assume

Riverman1, you can assume there wasn't an agreement to stay in the triangle but either way, who cares, the deputy did not make them leave. He made them clear the area and said they could protest in the triangle areas so where is the conspiracy here? It was raining and a safety hazzard, period. And by your words, you clearly show you have formed your opinion no matter what....just by saying the deputy DEMANDED to see a permit - the deputy ASKED if they had a permit and when they said they didn't need one, he asked a superviosr who confirmed one was not needed, again no conspiracy just a deputy trying to do his job and keep the peace, ensure safety and ensure they were able to protest. The Sheriff's Office has been very supportative of the Harrisburg residents who are frustrated and every response I have ever given on here has been 100% behind them - I personally belive most every deputy supports them and appreciate their help and don't care for these absentee care less landlords. They were ASKED for a permit, it was cleared up and they were allowed to protest in nearby triangles if they so desired so to make more out of this is ridiculous.

Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 09/10/09 - 09:41 pm
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Actually humble opinion, a

Actually humble opinion, a landlord can evict you for ANY violation of your lease in Gerogia which would include but is not limited to ANYTHING placed in the signed lease such as keeping the grass cut, trash out of the yard, maximum number of guests in the house at any time, number of times police called to the house, noise violations, cleanliness, drug activity on the propetry even if not the tenants, complaints from neighbors, etc. so long as it is in the lease, you can evict. The problem is many of these landlords are getting far more money than their places are worth and they get it from our government in the form of section8 checks so they could care less who lives there, what goes on, what the property looks like and what the neighbors or neighborhood thinks. Apparently these landlords also could care less about protests or their names in the paper - they only care about the checks the recieve from the government. The neighborhood association needs to put heat on the landlords, commissoners, license and inspections department, sheriff's office and the agency who oversees payments for section 8 housing - if they agressively persue each area, they will eventually win.

harrisburgwillrise
0
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harrisburgwillrise 09/10/09 - 10:03 pm
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I was there,and here is what

I was there,and here is what happened. The protest was peaceful, and the protesters never informed RCSD of where they would be because they did not have to. Rain had not begun to start when the protesters were asked to discontinue the protest. Mr. weigle's Father drove up in a mercedes, blocking traffic, and called the police officer over. When the officer did this, traffic stopped totally on both sides. When the officer finished his conversation with the elder Weigle, he realized he had a traffic jam, went directly to the protest organizer and called the protest,"over, due to impeding the flow of traffic." There are many witnesses to this. By the way, the deputy asked to see a permit. He had no clue that the group did not need one. Also, most landlords in Harrisburg do not have a lease agreement of any type.

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 09/10/09 - 11:56 pm
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humbleopinion.. you have no

humbleopinion.. you have no idea what you are talking about.

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